A 1:28.668 handed Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) his third pole position of the season after putting in a ruthless performance at the Michelin® Grand Prix of Styria. The Championship leader had more than a tenth to spare over rivals Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team), who will complete the front row in Sunday’s race.
How it played out
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) Albert Arenas (Aspar Team Moto2) and Flexbox HP40 duo Hector Garzo and Stefano Manzi completed the full complement for the session after coming through Q1, though none could make their mark on the session.
The early pacesetter was MotoGP™ bound Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo), with Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) joining him at the top of the timesheets. The namesake one-two didn’t last long as Gardner pushed himself to the top of the leaderboard. His stay at the top was short-lived as Bezzecchi posted the fastest lap of the opening exchanges to leave the number 12 as the man to beat.
An exciting end to the session began when Ogura moved himself up into P3, before taking provisional pole with less than two minutes remaining. As the rookie started to dream of a maiden Moto2™ pole, Gardner made his move, the ruthless Australian showing his class and guile to go a tenth clear at the top. Ogura was left heartbroken after he was unable to respond on his final lap, but he still takes away a first-ever intermediate class front row start as a consolation prize, while Bezzecchi bemoaned some technical issues in the aftermath as the reason he could not improve on his earlier time, which was still enough for P3.
The top 10
Raul Fernandez is off the front row for the first time since the Spanish GP, but will be a credible race threat. As will both Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2) and Augusto Fernandez who have shown some excellent pace throughout the weekend to date.
Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS) heads up a third row that contains Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team) and Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), while Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) completes the top 10.
The intermediate class race gets underway at 12.20pm (CET) Sunday. Make sure you tune in then.
1. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 1:26.668
2. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 0.121
3. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.143
4. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.310
5. Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2) + 0.336
6. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.337
7. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.470
8. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team) + 0.552
9. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 0.555
10. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 0.570